Creating a Program Management Plan
A program management plan is a living document that can be updated as the program progresses. When first creating a plan, establish baselines for the program scope, budget, and scheduling. Stakeholders and governance groups need to be identified, and approvals and revisions to the plan should be documented. Information can be added to the plan as needed, including any final data related to measuring program success. There are many elements to a comprehensive program management plan. Here’s a closer look at some of the typical parts that may be included in a program management plan.
- Program Overview - This section defines the program vision, its business value, and projected outcome. It may include a summary of the program scope, dependencies and constraints. This introductory portion may also include success criteria for measuring program outcomes.
- Schedule Management - A roadmap or work breakdown structure may be included in this section along with a description of how scheduling will be managed, updated, and monitored. Roles and responsibilities related to scheduling should be made clear.
- Change Management - Provide a clear process for handling program changes, including who can submit change requests, how and where those requests will be tracked, and who can approve changes.
- Communications Management - A detailed communications plan can help prevent project issues and ensure that information is distributed appropriately. Use this section to define the frequency and type of communication to be provided, who will be providing and receiving the communications, and other guidelines or expectations.
- Cost Management - This section may include detailed information on program budget and expenditures as well as the parties responsible for managing costs, who can approve changes to the program budget, how project budgets will be measured and monitored, and guidelines for reporting.
- Procurement Management - Describe responsibilities related to procurement throughout a program lifecycle. Identify who is responsible for vendor relationships, dealing with contracts, purchasing, and other activities.
- Project Scope Management - Will the project scope be defined in a scope statement, WBS, or another method? How will the scope be measured? Who is responsible for managing and approving the program scope? Address these questions as well as any guidelines related to the scope change process that were not identified in the change management section.
- Risk Management - Describe how risks will be reported, monitored, and assessed, including how they can be submitted and who is responsible for dealing with them.
- Staffing Management - This section lists program requirements for staffing, including specific resources and the timeframes in which they are needed, plus training. It describes how staff will be managed for the duration of the program.
- Stakeholder Management - Use this section to identify stakeholders and strategies for managing them, including who is responsible for collecting and reporting stakeholder information.
- Program Governance - Describe any governing groups, what authority they have, and their responsibilities within the program. You can include information on how often they will meet, how escalated decisions should be presented to and handled by the governing groups, how their decisions will be communicated, and when program reviews will occur.
Depending on the complexity of a program, you may need to create separate documents for some of the management plans listed above. They can then be included as part of your larger program management plan. To cover all your bases, we’re offering a variety of templates below, all of which can be downloaded for free. Smartsheet also offers templates with enhanced collaboration features to aid program managers with planning and communication.
Program Management Templates for Excel
Program Management Charter Template
A program charter is often used as a preliminary document to provide an overview of a program and outline its key elements, such as vision, purpose, deliverables, and objectives. A program manager creates the charter with input from stakeholders and the program sponsor. The program charter documents approval for the program parameters and authorizes the program manager to proceed. Once the charter has been approved, a more detailed program plan can be created, which often includes the charter as part of the program overview.
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Tracking Template: Ongoing Updates, Issues, and Tasks
Use this tracking template to identify issues, tasks, and roadblocks along with impact, required actions, ownership, status, and more. This can help you organize program updates and issues while keeping track of who is responsible for dealing with them, pending deadlines and completed tasks. You can organize the template by issue priority to ensure that vital issues are being addressed first.
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Gantt Chart Template
This simple Gantt chart template can be used for scheduling tasks, project planning, and tracking progress. The horizontal bar charts make it easy to view a project timeline and how different tasks overlap. A Gantt chart can be used for a variety of planning needs, from creating a personal to-do list to marking project milestones.
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Program Stakeholder Analysis Template
Use this analysis template to support your stakeholder management plan. A stakeholder analysis can be completed once to assess stakeholder interests, attitudes, and influence, or it can be updated regularly to reflect changes over time. A stakeholder analysis can help you create targeted communications in order to ensure cooperation between an organization, project teams, and stakeholders, which increases the chances of a successful program outcome.
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Program Management Dashboard Template
This program management template provides a dashboard view of your project portfolio, which provides a quick view of data and scheduling for multiple projects. Use this template to monitor program budget, risks, timeline, and progress. You can also use the dashboard as a program management status report template, providing quick reporting to stakeholders that includes high-level and detailed information in an easy-to-read format.
Program Governance Plan Template
This template is designed for planning governance committees, outlining guidelines for decision making, and determining how those decisions will be documented and communicated. You can use the template to plan stage gate and program performance reviews, and provide details on when reviews will take place, what will be reviewed, and more.
Program Communication Plan Template
Create a detailed communications plan that includes a summary of your communication strategy for the program as a whole, your approach to different program components, processes for escalation and feedback, roles and responsibilities related to communication, and specific activities. It should be clear who has authority to approve a communication, who is responsible for various types of communication, and who is the target audience.
Program Management Process Draft Template
This program management planning template is designed to help you quickly create a program plan in a spreadsheet format. It covers multiple planning elements from issue, communication, and financial management to program status reporting. You can edit the template to include different sections depending on the needs of your program.
Risk Log Template
Support your risk management process with this log template. Creating a risk log allows you to keep track of when a risk was reported, who is responsible, its impact, and response status. You can use the risk log to assess and prioritize issues and create detailed documentation of what response actions are needed or have been completed.
Work Breakdown Structure Template
As described in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), a work breakdown structure (WBS) shows a hierarchical view of the scope of work required to complete project objectives and deliverables. It shows the decomposition of a project or program into manageable components, starting with the end objective and moving through increasingly smaller tasks and subtasks needed to reach the objective. This WBS template provides a tree diagram to assist you in the decomposition process. You can include the work breakdown structure as part of your program management scheduling plan.
Program Management Templates for Word
Program Management Plan Template
Create a comprehensive program management plan formatted for Microsoft Word. This template provides an outline for developing your plan, and also includes key components such as program overview, scope management, staffing management, governance, and more. Program managers can use the template as is or attach additional documents as appendices to expand the plan.
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Milestone Chart Template
This template can be used to create a milestone chart for monitoring progress. You can include this chart as part of the program plan to highlight major events. Milestones can also be included in a roadmap or other scheduling methods, but this chart template is useful when you want a simple list of milestones with corresponding dates.
Change Control Form Template
Manage change requests with this change control form template. This form includes sections for documenting the reason for the change, costs and benefits, priority level, work required, approval, and implementation. Use a change control form to create and obtain thorough documentation of all change requests, which can also be included in a change control log for quick reference.
Root Cause Analysis Template
Even with effective risk management strategies, problems can arise during the course of a project. Identify the underlying causes of these problems and develop a corrective action plan with this root cause analysis template. You can use this template as a guide for the process of investigating and analyzing a problem or incident, and it also provides documentation of methods used to define the root causes and what actions need to be taken.
Program Management Templates in Smartsheet
Great program management gives project managers the mandate, structures, tools and communication channels they need to ensure successful project outcomes. Smartsheet's templates will help you implement the best project management processes to deliver projects on time and on budget. Try Smartsheet for free for 30 days.
Program Management Office (PMO) Charter
A good charter not only establishes the scope, goals, and budget of the PMO, but also stimulates discussion. With rich collaboration and sharing capabilities, Smartsheet is the perfect tool to help structure your team’s contributions.
Use the PMO Charter Template in Smartsheet
Program Governance Structure
Documenting a program’s governance structure helps stakeholders understand the program's methodologies, frameworks and context for how decisions are made. Use Smartsheet to centralize important governance information so everyone has access.
Use the Program Governance Template in Smartsheet
A good business case is credible and compelling. Give you and your co-authors the ability to follow an ideal structure, collaborate in real time, and iterate on future versions while maintaining a log of historical changes.
Use the Business Case Template in Smartsheet
Program Master Calendar
Easily communicate milestones and important meetings across multiple projects. With the Program Master Calendar, it is easy to keep items up to date, share the latest schedule with stakeholders, and set up email notifications so nothing is missed.
Use the Program Master Calendar Template in Smartsheet
Project Portfolio Scorecard
Streamline your project reporting process. With built-in update request features, project owners can be automatically notified to make updates on a recurring or ad-hoc schedule.
Use the Project Portfolio Scorecard Template in Smartsheet
Smartsheet's PMO Solution
A PMO (Program Management Office) that nurtures projects with the right level of functional support is key to delivering business value. The Smartsheet team can help you to identify and mitigate risk, ensure that project requirements map to business goals, and control proposed changes to project scope and schedules.
- Report on key project information in real time
- Mitigate the impact of issues and risks
- Manage requirements to deliver business value
- Control end-to-end change processes
Make Better Decisions, Faster with Smartsheet Dashboards
When managing projects across a program, it's essential to have the right tools in place to gain high-level visibility into important aspects of work such as project status and whether tasks are on target with key performance indicators (KPIs).
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